TUSCANY (TUSCANY)

A Renaissance was born in Tuscany, and this fact gave the province a meaning beyond its political role. W XV i XVI w. artists like Masaccio, Donatello and Michelangelo created works here, which influence painters and sculptors until today, and in every major city in Italy, the ideas of Tuscan architects are more or less discernible, especially Brunelleschi. Even the language of the country carries the imprint of Tuscany, because the roots of New-Italian grow out of the dialect, who were used by Dante born in this region, Boccaccio i Petrarka.

For most visitors, the landscape of Tuscany is also the archetype of Italy. Its elements - city walls surrounded by walls, rows of cypress trees, rolling hills covered with vines - a classic backdrop for Renaissance works of art, so well known from countless images. If the Tuscan landscape has a flaw, it is popularity, which he had attracted with his charm, and in many ways the most remembered and enjoyable is visiting lesser-known monuments: remote monasteries like Sant'Antimo and Monte 01iveto Maggiore, weird sulphate spas Bagno Vignoni and Satumia or also ethereal, eroded area of ​​crete (craters) south of Siena.

Which doesn't mean, that in Tuscan cities you should omit recognized attractions. it is true, that few people react quite positively to Florence, where it currently appears, that every building worth seeing is wrapped in a tarpaulin and surrounded by scaffolding. However, the central streets may be uninviting, this is made up for by numerous other attractions: Uffizi Gallery with Botticelli's masterpieces, Rafaela, Titian and almost all major Renaissance artists, great series of frescoes in Florentine churches or the richness of Florentine sculptures in Bargello and Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.

Siena is provoking less ambiguous reactions. The streets radiating out to the beautiful Campo - a shell-shaped sloping market square - make up one of the most magnificent medieval cities in Europe; remained almost perfectly preserved, with exquisite works of art in sacred and secular buildings. Campo is also the scene of the only festival in Tuscany, whose - Palio, you must not forgive yourself and during which riders dressed in folk costumes ride their horses bareback and gallop on the cobblestones of the market square.

Other major cities, Pizza and Lukka, are convenient entry points to the province - by air or Rome-Genoa railroad. Both have great medieval monuments - the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the cathedral complex, in Lucca a series of Romanesque churches - but none can compete with the charm of Siena. Smaller towns on the hills may be tempted to do so, most concentrated in the area to the west and south of Siena. San Gimignano is the most famous, "City of towers", but today excessive popularity does not help him. Vineyard towns are better candidates to get away from big-city Tuscany, Montepulciano i Montalcino, where tourism has not yet obscured the local color and lifestyle. The only area in Tuscany that does not make a good impression is the coast. On the mainland, it is almost entirely built-up, with expensive and uninteresting beach complexes, covering almost every strand of sand. A little warmer words belong to the main islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elbie i Giglio, though they too fell victim to their own charm; it happens, that the campsites are fully booked during the season.

The question of the season also applies to all the more famous towns in Tuscany. Florence in particular can be a nightmare in summer, when you can't see the end of the line at the Uffizi, and the crowd around Michelangelo's David measures thirty rows. Finding accommodation is a serious problem from April to the end of September, and a little less for the rest of the year; Advance booking by phone is actually essential in Tuscany, regardless of the price level. You have to remember, that the province is expensive, even according to the Northern Italian criteria, and hotel prices rarely go below 40 000 L for two.

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